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fuel line material?? chrome? aluminum? stainless?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by garagedoreen, Jan 9, 2008.

  1. garagedoreen
    Joined: Dec 12, 2006
    Posts: 168

    from LA,CA

    Im about to order some fuel line 3/8 for my build and dont really know what material to choose. Chrome, aluminum or stainless???
    what are the difference between all of them. The pros and cons of each. Thanks.
  2. langy
    Joined: Apr 27, 2006
    Posts: 5,735

    Member Emeritus

    I prefer stainless but you need to make sure you get annealed otherwise you won't bend or flare it, Aluminium is good too.
    In the U.K. we have Kunifer which is a Copper/Nickel alloy which is great stuff as it flares/bends easily and is totally rust proof, Not sure if you have it in U.S. though ???
    Joined: May 23, 2005
    Posts: 4,408

    Alliance Vendor
    from AUSTIN,TX

    Chrome peels.
    Stainless is a pain to bend,flare, and sometimes cut.
    Aluminum rules.
  4. Ford Freak
    Joined: Jan 5, 2005
    Posts: 817

    Ford Freak

    Aluminum will be the easiest to work with.
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    Joined: Feb 22, 2007
    Posts: 847

    from MIAMI

    don't forget copper
  6. GassersGarage
    Joined: Jul 1, 2007
    Posts: 4,868


    I always used copper because it was easiest to work with. Most show rods I've seen use polished stainless.
  7. dirty mikey
    Joined: Oct 1, 2007
    Posts: 136

    dirty mikey
    from chicago IL

    aluminum is the easiest to work with make sure its fastened securely or it will crack from vibration.
  8. Nerner
    Joined: Jul 2, 2005
    Posts: 71

    from New Jersey

    The new fuel blends will attack aluminum.
  9. i just go down to Napa and get 3/8" steel fuel lines
  10. tommy
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 14,763

    Member Emeritus

    How is the car going to be used? Parked in a garage most of the time or sitting on the street? Will it have mirrors under it at the show? Driving in harsh climates regularly?

    I think SS on most rods is over kill. Do we really need to spend 300 bucks on brake lines? The good old galvanized steel fuel and brake lines will last 30 years on a daily driver. How long will it last on a garage car? You can polish it. Give it a coat of rattle can clear and it will last beyond our years and still look great.

    I'm a cheap skate for sure but I just think all the SS shit is just keeping up with the Jone's or just plain bragging rights. Then we turn around and ask why is our hobby so costly?

    I don't care how they do it in California! Haven't heard that one in a while have ya?:D

    I don't like the bulk rolls because I can never get it straight enough for my tastes. I buy the longest straight pieces that the local parts store has (no shipping costs) and use a coupling where necessary. You want a neat job? Make a small off set before entering the coupling and after leaving the coupling to keep the tubing flat against the frame. That gives a professional look to it. It's usually easier to install in shorter segments anyway. Buy a good bender and plan out a nice neat path with as few bends as possible.

    To me aluminum is for race cars and is hard to make a clean installation same as the bulk steel. JMHCSO
  11. porknbeaner
    Joined: Sep 12, 2003
    Posts: 38,757


    Yea if it ain't show show car steel is the way to go.

    I use some aluminum under the hood but I try real hard not to run alcohol.
  12. langy
    Joined: Apr 27, 2006
    Posts: 5,735

    Member Emeritus

    I'm afraid that is an old wives tale, If you get the correct stuff it will flare & bend easily.

  13. j-jock
    Joined: May 12, 2007
    Posts: 704


    Steel was always good enough for me.
  14. LUX BLUE
    Joined: May 23, 2005
    Posts: 4,408

    Alliance Vendor
    from AUSTIN,TX

    Do you have a brand name? I have used swagelok, Earls ( which bent well enough, but cutting and flaring was a pain due to how thin it is...seemed to want to split at it's internal seam.) Russel (complete junk.) and Aeroquip Stainless tubing.

    I'm not old or anyones wife, and I am telling you the tale of what a pain it was for me.:D

    I like the Aluminum because minor changes are easier to make. and it won't rust.
  15. LUX BLUE
    Joined: May 23, 2005
    Posts: 4,408

    Alliance Vendor
    from AUSTIN,TX

    Boy, if that's the case, all those cars out there with aluminum heads are in trouble, right? And pistons...whew! We're all screwed!

    The new fuel blends attack rubber, Bro.:D
  16. langy
    Joined: Apr 27, 2006
    Posts: 5,735

    Member Emeritus

    I use Speedway S/S line, Its whats called annealed which basically means soft, I can bend it round my finger easily and double flares no problem.

  17. mink
    Joined: Oct 4, 2007
    Posts: 1,298

    from CT

    What causes gas to eat through the aluminum fuel lines?? Can this happen
  18. 53sled
    Joined: Jul 5, 2005
    Posts: 5,821

    from KCMO

    Its the alcohol, supplements in the gas nowadays that goes after old rubber.
  19. Fish Tank
    Joined: May 22, 2008
    Posts: 550

    Fish Tank

    Mikey's right on that. On my helo in the Navy, vibration cracks are always a top priority next to corrosion. Aluminum is a dream to work with and since you don't have two GE T-58's putting out 1200 shaft horsepower, I'd doubt vibration would be much of concern

    But stainless is solid, and copper rocks. Of course, always remember chaffing. If any of them are touching a part of the car, zip or clamp a "sacrificial piece" of rubber hose or something so the line won't rub a hole in itself.

    These are the clamps I've used on my cars ever since the Navy. You can get them in ANY size:
    And here is a link:
    (this is ALSO a great place to find lines/hoses...there's a ton of aircraft stuff on my car)


    Good luck!
  20. dirtbag13
    Joined: Jun 16, 2008
    Posts: 2,539


    i just use the good ole cheep auto parts store gsa line after i have it bent up a little pollishing with a scotchbrite pad and it looks good too !
  21. Relic Stew
    Joined: Apr 17, 2005
    Posts: 1,044

    Relic Stew
    from Wisconsin

    Found an importer;

    This stuff looks interesting. Parts store replacement brake lines only lasts a few winters here in the rust belt. I'll have to check this stuff out for my winter beater.
  22. mink
    Joined: Oct 4, 2007
    Posts: 1,298

    from CT

    How much are the old steel lines and where do you get them ??
  23. New Old Fart
    Joined: Nov 19, 2008
    Posts: 147

    New Old Fart

    I just use 3/8 steel brake line and Adel clamps. Cheap and easy.
  24. so who's using what, from fuel pump to carb? is aluminum safe in that application?
  25. I just bought some steel brake lines.. 48" was like $5. The fuel lines aren't much more. Any parts store stocks 'em. I didn't even bother with a bender, just hand bent these, even though I needed a U-bend in the last 8" of one that also had to go down as it curved back.

    Copper's not even legal for fuel lines anymore is it? Or is that just brake lines?
  26. carbking
    Joined: Dec 20, 2008
    Posts: 2,013


    We reproduce fuel lines for various tripower and dual quad FACTORY setups. Aluminum, copper, and steel were used by various manufacturers. We use the original material.

    Since we had to invest in tooling, we also looked at producing lines out of stainless. When we placed our initial order for material (aluminum, copper, steel, and stainless), the supplier wanted to know the use for the stainless. He then put me in touch with one of their engineers and I was told the following:

    "Stainless cannot be successfully flared more than 37 degrees. Standard automotive fittings are 45 degrees. Problems will arise if you try to use stainless with automotive fittings. We are sorry, but under the circumstances we must refuse your order for stainless. We appreciate the rest of your order.".

    His words, NOT mine, if you disagree, please be nice to the messenger. I am only passing on the words of an engineer who refused that portion of our order. Since this is not my field, I respect his opinion. He suggested that stainless may certainly be used for custom work, if 37 degree fittings were produced. This was not where we wanted to go.

  27. dirtbag13
    Joined: Jun 16, 2008
    Posts: 2,539


    i think i just bought a 5 foot piece of 5 16ths , was maybee 4 dollars at advanced auto ! its just your basic brake-gas line , when im done bending it i take a scotchbrite pad or steel wool and polish it up ! supose you could clear it also !
  28. 60srailjob
    Joined: Nov 14, 2008
    Posts: 1,206

    from nowhere

    I use copper for all my fuel lines and if I think it needs a flex spot on it I will loop it (kinda like brake lines out of the master cylinder.) Works great........
  29. Steel will work fine for most guys and it bends easily. It's the cheapest and easiest to use and find. But I like 3/8" stainless and it isn't that expensive or hard to use. I use steel 3/8" JIC 37 degree fittings that are primarily used for hydraulic lines so they are very inexpensive and are bulletproof. They are plated and polish to a silver color on the buffer, are rust resistant and look much nicer than brass fittings used with the 45 degree double flare with regular steel tubing. I pay about $25 for a 8' stick of stainless from a supplier in Rapid City, SD. A good 37 degree flaring tool from Rigid isn't cheap but it will last forever. Same goes for a good tubing bender, I use an Imperial 370-FH triple bender which is also American made. The only thing I use aluminum for is A/C lines. I don't think it can tolerate any abuse or abrasion so I wouldn't trust it for long term use for gasoline. Copper is not recommended because it will work harden over time and does not tolerate vibration very well. If you don't run your car a lot of miles every year and rack up lots of miles on it most anything will work but I would rather be overbuilt in this area.
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2009
  30. umirazor
    Joined: Aug 13, 2009
    Posts: 1

    from The "D"

    I have a different question about which material to use. Is one better suited to keep your fuel cooler than another? And mostly I am talking pump to filter to carb.

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